Stop!!! These DIY Gutter De-Icing Methods Can Ruin Your Gutters

Posted on: 22 October 2015

If you live in an area that experiences harsh winters, you have likely experienced snow and ice build-up at some point. Some ice formation may seem harmless, and but other situations such as ice dams may accumulate to a thickness that causes concern for property owners. The latter may lead some people into trying to de-ice their own gutters, which can cause problems. Others may make the mistake of allowing the ice to sit and thaw on its own, which can also be problematic. The following are examples of de-icing methods people have tried and the havoc these methods can wreak on homes. 

Hot Water

Some people attempt this method in an attempt to melt the ice. It often results in more ice accumulation as a result of the hot water freezing as well. The added weight from the frozen water can contribute more to the likelihood of damaged gutters occurring.

Melt Naturally

This is a bad idea because the sun may melt some of the ice, but as the temperature drops in the evening and night, the thawed portions may refreeze causing blockages and damages in gutters as the ice expands.

It is also possible for the ice to freeze and thaw throughout the day as a result of temperature fluctuations and uneven thawing. This cycle of thawing and freezing can create icicles at the bottom of your gutters. The size and weight of icicles could cause your gutters to fall off of your home. 

Over-the-Counter Ice Melt

Many of these products are not ideal for use on gutters. This is because the products may contain corrosive chemicals that are designed to melt ice, but those same chemicals can cause erosion to occur on nearby building materials such as nails and shingles on your roof. The common culprits of erosion in these products are sodium chloride and calcium chloride salt. 

Gutter Dismantling

Removing the gutters from your home to better access the ice is a bad idea because during the process of removing the gutters you may inadvertently damage your roof, siding and gutter fasteners. Also, keep in mind that gutters are intended to keep water and weathering away from your home. If you remove the gutters, ice melting from the roof could cause water damage to occur due to there not being a barrier to obstruct the melted ice. 

Best Approach

A gutter installation provider is the best resource to use for ice removal and maintenance of your gutters. They can also recommend enhancements to add to your gutters, which can reduce the amount of ice and snow build-up. For example, they may recommend installing snow guards or ventilating your attic to reduce the effects of icy winter weather on your roof and gutters. If necessary, the professional might recommend a complete gutter replacement if the ice has caused enough damage.